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5 Reasons You Should Stop Writing

5 Reasons You Should Stop Writing

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Published by K.M. Weiland
Writers write. But sometimes, when they have good reasons for doing so, writers don’t write.
Writers write. But sometimes, when they have good reasons for doing so, writers don’t write.

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Published by: K.M. Weiland on May 19, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Sometimes the best thing a writer can do is
write. There are going to betimes when our brains are fried, our imaginations are dried up, and our lives aredemanding we put non-writing priorities first.In these situations, is it ever acceptable to just surrender and throw down thepen for a while? My answer is
. In fact, sometimes it’s wise todeliberately plan to stop writing. Let’s consider a few instances in which
writing is not only acceptable but important.
1. To let a story breathe
By the time we finish writing a novel, our objectivity will have packed its bagsand headed to Rio. We can edit the darn thing until we’re blue in the face, butwe’re not likely to
see what’s wrong with it until we’re able to put a littledistance between ourselves this story we’ve grown to love (or, perhaps, hate).Once I finish a first draft, I edit the manuscript three times to correct obvioustypos and continuity errors. Then I set it aside for as much as a year. I don’tlook at it; I don’t think about it. I just wait until my gut starts telling me myobjectivity has boarded its return flight back from vacation.
2. To work on a different project
We may have any number of good reasons to stop writing a particular book andfocus on something else. This something else might be another story, a non-fiction book, or something totally unrelated to writing: painting, crocheting,playing football, having a baby, you name it.If you’re lucky enough to be interested and talented in other art forms, you canalternate between projects to keep yourself fresh and interested in both. In hisarticle “The 20-story summer” in the May 2013 issue of 
The Writer 
, Eric D.Lehman calls this “feeding the brain machine so I could go back to the bigproject with new insights and abilities.” 
3. To schedule a regular day off 
You take a day off from work every week, so why not writing? I write six daysout of the week, but I always schedule one day off out of every week and hold
5 Reasons You Should Stop Writing
to it adamantly. When my writing isn’t going so great, this day is a reward. Buteven when my writing is sailing along splendidly, this regular day off allows meto recharge my batteries, stave off burnout, and apply time to non-writingactivities and chores.
4. To take an enforced vacation
Your brain is like a rubber band. Stretch it too hard for too long, and it’ll eithersnap or end up so limp it won’t hold anything together. When you feel burnoutapproaching, do yourself and your writing a favor and take a break.After finishing a manuscript, I always have to give myself at least a few monthsto recuperate before diving into the next project. This period isn’t a vacation inthe strictest sense, since I’m still showing up at my desk to work on marketingand perhaps the editing of other projects.But there are other times when a total vacation is required. Unplug your Internetfor a week or two, step away from the computer, and pamper yourself with icecream, movie marathons, lots of walks, and lots of reading. You’ll return to yourwriting refreshed and re-energized.
5. To walk away from writing for a time
So far, the break periods we’ve discussed have been relatively brief. But whatabout taking a serious break from writing? What about
for months oreven years? This, of course, is a whole ’nother ballgame. If you’re evenconsidering this, then you are either losing interest in your writing or you’refacing major changes in your life. Both are legitimate reasons to make thedecision to step away from your writing for a time.Sometimes, for whatever reason, we just won’t be able to make our writing workat certain periods in our life. Squeezing it in even when it’s difficult is the roadmost of us will take—and we’ll likely be rewarded for our tenacity in doing so.But sometimes life has other plans. If writing isn’t what you want to (or can) doright now, don’t be afraid to set it aside for a while. This doesn’t mean you’renot a writer, and it doesn’t mean you’ll never come back to your writing. Adecision like this should never be made lightly, but, in some situations, it maybe the best thing you can do for both yourself and all the stories you will writein the future.Writers write. But sometimes, when they have good reasons for doing so,writers don’t write. If you need to take a break—long or short—to let a storybreathe or to let
breathe, then don’t hesitate to do so. Writing is aninherently instinctive and organic process. If your gut is telling you a break is just what the book doctor ordered, then go for it. Otherwise, get back to yourdesk and start hammering those keys!

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